Category Archives: Writing

Writers: Don’t Get Lost in the Traffic!

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Wrote a great book, did you? Looking for ways to reach readers, are you? Well, have I got the place for you. It’s called RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! Yep! I’ve been telling you all about it for the past three-plus years.

And just what exactly is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB? I’m glad you asked. RRBC is an online community of readers and writers whose sole goal is to support one another. Members buy, read, and review fellow members books. It’s what we do.

But wait!!! There’s more!!!

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By joining the RRBC community, you will have your book(s) placed in the club’s online catalog, making it available to the entire membership (currently at just under 400). Those who choose to be supportive of fellow members will discover the perks of membership. Books of the Month? We select three titles and promote them on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook each and every month. Many club members purchase these titles and review them.

Spotlight Author? Well, let me explain it to you. When chosen to stand in the spotlight, the author embarks on a month-long journey that includes wicked Twitter support, a blog tour, a seat on the shelf with club President Nonnie Jules (chit-chatting about you and your book), and a live interview on one of the RRBC Blog Talk Radio programs.

Look, most of us here are writers. We understand the marketing struggles indie authors face in today’s world. RRBC is meant to be a tool for the writer. But it requires more than just signing up. Support is vital. Those who don’t support, well, they receive little support themselves. It is through support that members become familiar with the names of fellow members. Marketing, branding — this is a foothold, an opportunity to meet other authors who also happen to be readers. This is the writer’s chance to build a foundation on which to establish their work.

If it sounds like something you may be interested in, stop by the RRBC site and have a look around. It only costs $25 per year (though it’s just $20 for those who join before 11:59 pm CT 2/22/17).

Click here to visit the RRBC SITE!

Peggy Hattendorf: Author & RWISA Member!

Greetings and welcome to The Indie Spot. It is my privilege and honor to introduce to you author and RWISA member Peggy Hattendorf — in her own words! Take it away, Peggy…

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The Interview

1) How long have you been writing?

My professional writing started in the mid-1970’s, when I created volunteer and staff handbooks for a number of agencies in the non-profit field.

I entertained the idea of writing a novel about 10 years ago but purposely shelved the plan for nearly two years due to other commitments. The notion of writing fiction still gnawed at me and I would jot down potential characters, ideas and storylines during this hiatus. When I finally dusted off my old notes, scribbles and research and read over the material, I realized I had the makings for a good story. With new found enthusiasm, I set about writing my first novel. My background with upscale and luxury travel products served a cornerstones in the character development and storyline.

2) How many books have you authored?
At present, I have one novel Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty.

3) Do you have a writing schedule?

Yes. Currently I am working on my second book in the family dynasty series. This one still focuses on the wealthy Barrington family, and I utilize some of my travel destination research for the magazine to add new locations and settings for the book.

4) You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

I was honored and humbled to have been selected by personal invitation from Nonnie as one of the first 10 people to join RWISA. I believe I was invited into this organization because I am a strong and focused writer with a distinct voice and style. I take writing very seriously and continue to strive to be the best in all I produce. With my debut novel, I’ve been able to create a captivating story with well defined characters in exquisite settings and locations; appropriately interrupting the narrative with savvy and funny dialogue while maintaining suspense with plot twists and turns to keep the reader engaged until the very end.

5) Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

I am a serious writer who continues to advance my professional endeavors, hone my skills and strive for excellence. I write with passion and want to translate that deep purpose to the reader. As a character driven writer, I use that passion to create a compelling and richly developed cast. I write in my head and start assembling this small grouping around a central theme and the storyline develops. I use logic, structure and organization in developing clear ideas and how to express them in a solid story. I’m grounded in data, research and fact-checking for credibility and authenticity. For example, in certain instances, it’s more appropriate for character and life-style to use more formal language in dialogue. I deliver a readable story with good content, a strong storyline, an intriguing plot, crackling dialogue from well crafted characters presented in elegant settings around the world.

6) If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

I was fortunate years ago to have had this experience. My husband and I had dinner with the late Allen Reed Folsom and his wife Karen at their home in Malibu. He was a screenwriter for years but his big break came with his thriller, The Day After Tomorrow, about a Neo-Nazi cult. We were with them shortly after he sold this debut novel in 1993 for $2 million dollars, a record at that time. As elated as he was to have sold his novel, he said it took him decades to get to that point. He was diligently working on his second book at the time of our visit. Had I known then, I would someday venture into this whelm, I would have been armed with a list of questions to ask him over dinner.

There is another author, Patricia Cornwall that I would find most interesting to involve in conversation. She is a seasoned serial writer and I am writing my second book in my family dynasty series. Her Scarpetta Series is one of my favorites as she uses a strong female lead, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner by training. I too have a strong female lead, also a career woman, Christiana Lynn Barrington. If I could “pick” Ms. Cornwall’s brain, I would inquire as to how she keeps a series “fresh” and interesting writing a total of 35 books in 27 years. As she also writes children’s books and cookbooks, I would be curious as to what prompted her move into other genres. In addition, I would ask if she found her work as a journalist an asset in writing fiction.

7) Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I do love being an INDIE writer and am not looking for outside representation. But with that said, if I was offered a publishing contract today, from a recognized publishing house, it would warrant my time and attention to understand the facts and terms of the contract. My desire is to have Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty adapted into a television movie or mini-series and that might be one of the major advantages of having an agent.

8) As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to have the third and final book in my family dynasty series complete. In so doing, this will require more travel for my inspirations, settings and research.

9) What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

I joined a very supportive network – Rave Reviews Book Club. I would tell any new author to commence the overall marketing process well before completion of the book and go online and immediately join Rave Reviews Book Club.

10) Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Why?

I would suggest Rebecca Reilly. I believe she is a gifted writer as demonstrated in her book Haunting Megan.

11) What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

Enjoy each and every step of this “creative journey” and don’t be in a rush to publish.

12) Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

There are certainly a number of prominent authors who publish several books per year to satisfy contractual terms of their publishers and keep their readership engaged through new releases. Some writers are co-authoring books possibly to keep ahead of the competition. It is hard to place a chronological time period on quality work. I believe each body of work should be judged on the quality alone without regard to the amount of time it took to produce the manuscript.

13) If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

I would absolutely halt the release date if the book was not deemed ready for publication. At the same time, I would issue a statement that the release date had to be pushed back and add the new publication date to keep up the interest from my fan and readership base. In the interim, I would continue to have contact with my readership via blogs etc.

14) In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

In my opinion, a “great book” is based on a number of key elements and I use the broad categories of fiction and non-fiction works. For a fiction book, I look for the following: *interesting storyline, * intriguing plot, * proper pace and flow, * well-defined characters, *crisp dialogue and * above all it must be a readable story! In a non-fiction book you also need an interesting storyline and proper pace and flow. Moreover, a non-fiction book must: * present an engaging topic, subject or person, * deliver insight or knowledge – possibly not known prior to reading the book and * be well researched with verifiable data and first-hand documentation, if possible. No matter the type of book or genre, it must be well written and hold the reader’s attention.

15) If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

I take my writing career very seriously and strive to deliver quality and excellence in all my work. Unfortunately, some editing issues have been brought to my attention and I have engaged Nonnie Jules and her team at 4Wills Publishing to address the items not identified and corrected by the former contracted editors.

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The Importance of your Author Brand and Reputation

By Peggy Hattendorf

Improper branding or a tarnished reputation can sink your career.

Proper messaging and a solid reputation, on the other hand, add both tangible and intangible benefits. A recognized brand is a strategic tool and important business asset which can determine your success as an author – as much as quality or price. Branding is imperative to commercializing your business, advancing product exposure and leading to increased demand for your books and products.

The American Marketing Association defines brand as, “a name, term, sign, symbol or combination of these, intended to identify the goods and services of the seller and to differentiate it from competitors.”  Branding is all activities that raise awareness for your business and helps shape consumers’ perceptions, awareness, associations and loyalty.

Professional reputation is defined as the “public” opinion about your business determined in part by the image and quality of products and services and further conditioned by consumer understanding, knowledge and intuition.  A “good” reputation helps build brand loyalty. The terms brand and reputation are interrelated and sometimes a strong brand image can combat some reputation issues.

Branding:

  • Improves recognition.
  • Assists in promotion of products/books/services.
  • Attributes quality, value and reliability.
  • Associates an image – “luxury” or “mass-market” as examples.
  • Creates trust, credibility, legitimacy and loyalty.
  • Supports advertising.
  • Differentiates from the competition.
  • Generates customer sales.
  • Builds financial value and resources.

Reputation:

  • Defines public beliefs or opinions generally held about a person or business.
  • Harder to build than to destroy.
  • Requires effort, patience and time to build.
  • Needs consistency and constant attention.
  • Represents your value in the marketplace.

The establishment of a solid brand, positive image and a good reputation are key elements for creating success in the literary world.

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Social Media

Twitter handler – @peggyhattendorf

Facebook – www.facebook.com/peggy.hattendorf

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Web Site/Blog

Website/blog – www.peggyhattendorf.com

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Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.

 

Writing the (Almost) Perfect Book Review

Today we will take a look at what goes into writing the (almost) perfect book review. Nothing is ever really perfect, but those imperfections should never be an excuse for being unprofessional or rude.

Okay, so you’re new to the fine art of writing book reviews. Maybe you’re not quite sure how to go about sharing that incredible (or terrible) story you just finished reading (or couldn’t force yourself to read the entire thing). The hope here is that perhaps we can shed some light on approaching the task—regardless of your feelings toward the book in question.

Book reviews are opinions and nothing else. But these are valued opinions (when done correctly) that can guide readers to—or away from—an author’s hard work. Opinions will always vary when it comes to books, movies, restaurants, or anything else that is often the target of reviews. I may not have enjoyed the mashed potatoes at Cracker Barrel, but those same spuds may stir recollections of Granny’s home-cooked Sunday dinners from way back in another patron. So does that make my opinion any greater than another’s? Not a chance. My opinion is just an option for those reading reviews of dinner choices at the local Cracker Barrel.

But this presentation isn’t about culinary creativity. We’re here to discuss books and the reviews we seek to write. I’ve written over a hundred book reviews and dozens of concert and record album reviews. Book reviews (and movie reviews) are a different breed from other write-ups in that there are certain things of which you need to be aware when sharing your thoughts on the latest novel you’ve read.

The first (and most important) item to remember is: NO SPOILERS! Not even with a “spoiler alert” attached to the front end of your review. If there’s a twist at the end of the story that really blew your mind, then please allow the next mind to be equally blown. I hate it when such things are divulged—even with a warning. I may choose to not read beyond the warning, but that doesn’t mean a friend will stop at that point. This friend then decides to bring up the twist as I’m mentioning the new book I just added to my Kindle.

I call to mind the first time I saw the movie The Others. I hadn’t even heard of this film prior to my viewing it one lazy afternoon. I remember thinking that the film trotted along at a rather slow pace—so much so that I nearly turned the channel. I’m glad I didn’t. As the film progressed, I became even more invested. And as it reached its conclusion, POW! I honestly did not see that twist coming. And thankfully, I was able to be floored by the brilliance of the writing and the acting because nobody spoiled it for me.

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I’ve read the novel Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock. This wonderful story contains a twist at the end that spins the entire story into a whole new perspective from the one through which I’d viewed it right up to the final two chapters. Good writers will do these things. Good reviewers will leave those things hidden, allowing the next readers to discover those gems for themselves. So please leave the spoiler alerts out of your reviews.

The next thing to keep in mind is: DITCH THE PLAY-BY-PLAY! A review is never meant to be an outline spilling plot details. Neither is it supposed to be a road map through the story. If I can gather most of what’s going on between those book covers from your review, what reason do I have in investing money and time in reading it for myself? This only serves to cheat the reader out of a good read, and it snuffs out a sale for the author.

A well-written review will give us just a taste of the plot, a glimpse into the lives of the characters, and offer opinions on whether or not the author has what it takes to tell a fine story. It should be a critique of story and style.

This leads us to another very important point: ATTACKING CONTENT MISSES THE MARK! Okay, so what exactly am I talking about? Saying you didn’t like the story in question because the girl was raped or a child died says more about the reviewer than it says about the book. If we’re voracious readers, we’ll eventually run into a story that may, at points, make us feel uncomfortable. My skin was crawling at times while reading The End of Alice by A. M. Homes. It’s a dark read, this story. But Miss Homes is one of my favorite writers. Her stories are vivid with living characters. She, as a writer, is skilled at yanking the reader from his or her comfort zone. The best writers are able to do these things without a second thought.

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The End of Alice is a bestseller. I mention this only because, as such, there are quite a few reviews for this work. The titles of some of those reviews posted on Amazon are rather telling. Beautifully Disturbing; Disgusting, But Impossible to Forget; Fascinating, Frustrating and Disappointing—but Unforgettable. Most opinions of this book award four and five stars—even though many of these reviewers found the story quite disturbing. Then there are those who simply attack the content and do all they can to steer potential readers away from this work.

Did the writing captivate you? Are the characters believable? What sort of emotions did you experience while reading? Did the author pull you out of your comfort zone? Is it a well-written story without punctuation or spelling errors? Did you care about the characters or were they worthy of being hated? These are the sorts of questions we should ponder while determining our opinions of the works of others.

Not all reviews warrant four and five stars. But that’s not license to attack an author’s work either. An honest review should be constructive in its criticism, not destructive. Social media is rife with mean and nasty comments that are designed to tear down rather than build up. Take into consideration the author may learn something from your review, and thus become a better writer because of you! Be honest, be tactful, be kind—even if it’s a 1, 2, or 3 star review. If you don’t like a particular story, explain the reasons behind your opinion.

As reviews coordinator for RRBC, I’ve heard from members who found issues with books they’ve read. They tell me they feel guilty writing a one or two star review. Well, if that’s their honest opinion, then that’s what they should award. I challenge them to offer the author—as well as potential future readers—an explanation on why they arrived at this rating. Are there punctuation problems? Plot holes? Is the story just too unbelievable? Share these details—but do so in a way that teaches. Be encouraging rather than discouraging.

And finally, when posting your reviews, be sure to proofread before sharing with the world via Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Nothing is quite as ridiculous as a critique of another’s work in a review filled with misspellings, missing or poor punctuation, and sentences that make little or no sense at all. If need be, allow another pair of eyes to do the proofreading for you—before you hit the post button. Your words represent you as a writer—whether they’re reviews, blog articles, essays, or novels. Always strive to make a strong impression. And remember, writing reviews is another way to make connections in the indie author world. If you’re needlessly harsh in your criticisms, that’s a reflection on you.

 

Concordant Vibrancy 3 Cover Reveal!

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Hello!

Thanks for visiting.

In celebrating a new tradition, All Authors Publications and Promotions is rejoicing in the forthcoming release of the 3rd Annual installment of “Concordant Vibrancy”.

First there was “Concordant Vibrancy: Unity”, the first book in this multi-genre anthology collections.

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Then there was “Concordant Vibrancy 2: Vitality”, the second book in this unique series.

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water-splash-dividerToday, we celebrate the Cover Reveal of “Concordant Vibrancy 3: Lustrate”.

borderFirst a little about the book …

The Blurb

What embodies the composition of fluidity?

This is the query of the third installment of the Concordant Vibrancy collection, presented by All Authors Publications & Promotions, entitled “Lustrate”.

Nine incredible writers unite—through a combination of poetry, essays, and short stories—to produce unique responses flowing with vitality.

Works include:

“Unsui” by Harmony Kent
“Exiled” by Carol Cassada
“The Satiationship” by Synful Desire
“Twin Planets” by Y. Correa
“Threes” by Queen of Spades
“Luster Lingers” by Adonis Mann
“The Boo Thang Convention” by C. Desert Rose
“Overcome (Holy Water)” by Beem Weeks
and
“The Bunny” by Da’Kharta Rising

Now, without further ado, All Authors Publications & Promotions presents you, our precious readers, writers and precious patrons with the cover of the upcoming “Concordant Vibrancy 3: Lustrate”.

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Learn …

What embodies the composition of fluidity?

Carol Cassada’s “Westmore” Cover Reveal HTML

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Greetings,

Today the members of All Authors P&P are bring you a phenomenal cover reveal, celebrating the re-release of “Westmore” by Author Carol Cassada.

First, the blurb:

Three families come together in this soap opera style romance. Westmore is the story of the Greens, the Braxtons, and the Reynolds—families’ enveloped by drama threefold.

Charlette Green mourns the loss of her husband while battling her dislike for her son’s new love. One day, handsome Detective Bryant comes into her life, rescuing her abandon. Meanwhile, Scott and Alicia, musical siblings, fight their way to the top of the charts when tragedy strikes.

Andrew Braxton is a ruthless and influential businessman who runs his household the same way he runs his company … with an iron fist. Upon learning his son Wayne plans on abandoning the family company, which Andrew has dedicated his life to, Andrew will do everything and anything in his power to stop Wayne from leaving.

After Laura Reynolds’ divorce, she and her daughter Megan move back home to live with her father. Her plan is to start life anew, relinquishing all sorrow. Little does Laura realize that it is harder than she thinks to leave the past behind.

Drama, mayhem, love and heartache are the ruling elements in this small New England town called Westmore.

Now, little bit about the author.

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Author Bio:

Carol Cassada hails from a small town in Virginia. Growing up, Carol loved to read, but it wasn’t until her teens when she decided to be a writer. After taking a creative writing class, Carol set out on her writing journey.

After graduating from college, Carol began writing her first book, Going Home Again. Since then, she’s written and published 6 volumes in the Westmore series. With a penchant for romance and drama, Carol’s books draw you in with their soap opera essence.

Although romance is her main genre, Carol has expressed interest in writing other genres. With a notebook full of ideas, Carol promises there’s more to come with her stories.

Links:

Website

Twitter: @dramacjc

Facebook

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Now, without further ado we present you with the new cover of “Westmore” by Carol Cassada.

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by

Carol Cassada

Coming December 1st, 2016

A New Chapter…

Have a read!

Life As I Know It

Hello, bloggers!

It’s been a week since I took a step towards my dream and I couldn’t be happier.

Very few people are aware of this, but I am no longer tied down to a full-time job. That’s right, friends, I QUIT MY JOB!!! And it was such a wonderful feeling, such a powerful feeling! Relief… Freedom… Happiness…

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Now, you may think I’m crazy, but I assure you, I am not. For once in my life, I am thinking about myself, my dreams, my passions. It’s time to focus on what I want my career to be, which is writing. The whole package… being an author, a freelancer, a researcher and a reader & reviewer.

My first step in this new chapter was to create a new site, one geared towards my writing and freelancing. Well, that site is now up and running at https://Freelance13Writer.WordPress.com/, and I’m gradually…

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The #RRBC Writers’ Conference & Book Expo is Ready to Fly!

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Have you heard the news? It’s all over town. If you ain’t heard it, well, you’d better sit down. Tell all the authors and the readers alike, Rave Reviews is really outta sight!

Here’s the scoop: Rave Reviews Book Club is launching their first ever Writers’ Conference & Book Expo. Now for the real cool part: It’s a virtual conference, which means no planes, trains, or automobiles need be involved. All you need to attend is a computer and internet connection.

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What’s the WC&BE all about? I’m glad you asked. This event will include sessions on:

  • Blogging for Success
  • Marketing 101
  • Formatting Made Easy
  • Social Media Dos & Don’ts
  • Writing the Perfect Book Review
  • Building Your Author Platform
  • Editors: Sniffing Out the Right One
  • Why Your Brand is Important
  • Indie Publishing versus Traditional
  • Writing in the Senior Season
  • And much more!

If you’re a writer, or if you just enjoy reading, this is the place you need to be.

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The Rave Reviews Book Club Writers’ Conference & Book Expo runs from December 1st thru December 3rd. If you want to attend, you’ll need to register by November 23rd.

To register, click HERE!

For prices, click HERE!

I do hope you’ll join us in what is sure to be an amazing event for indie authors from around the world.

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